An Animal-Friendly Life
AR2005 Diary, Day 2 of 3, Plenary Session III - "Compassion into
Tonight's plenary was all about individuals turning a dream of animal
liberation into reality. Lawrence Carter-Long of In Defense of Animals
Jill Robinson gave an amazing presentation about bear farming.
Impossible to do justice to it in text, but please visit animalsasia.org
for more information you need to know.
Next up came Virgil Butler. I talked a bit about Virgil yesterday, and
most of what he discussed was, of course, brought up when he spoke in
front of the smaller session before. He told up a story about his first
time working at chicken processing facility. He saw a guy pop a chicken's
head off and laugh at the chicken's reaction, telling Virgil that he would
get "used to it." He submerged his response because he needed the work.
When he was finally tired of deceiving his fiancee about what he did at
Tyson, he brought her with him, and her shattered response was how he
realized how ashamed he was about what he did for a living. He was able to
realize that he was a killer, and that he just couldn't do it anymore.
Unlike past experiences, where he walked away and looked for something
else to do. He decided to do something this time, and when he learned
about PETA, he contacted them right when they were doing a campaign on KFC
cruelty. That led to his own personal activism. For those "just joining
us," you can learn more about Virgil at cyberactivist.blogspot.com.
Erik Marcus came next after a rousing ovation for Virgil and Laura. Are
we gaining ground, holding steady, losing ground? There are some great
things happening. It looks like we're gaining ground, until one sees how
many animals are killed for food. Last year we crossed the 10 billion
threshold for the first time. Why are we losing ground.
He thinks our movement has made missteps in a couple of areas, such as
our rhetoric, which isn't often credible, accurate and persuasive as it
needs to be (for instance, the vegan diet is the healthiest ever!!!).
Basically, he took the 3-pronged approach to task as he did in the
previous session I wrote about, and of course in his book. We need to be
our own skeptics (back to the "B.S. detector" he spoke of last time).
Arguments hold up best on ethical grounds. Not to totally deny health and
environmental arguments, but he thinks they cannot bear 2/3 of the load.
He closed on the "dismantlement movement" approach as a force for rapid
The next to final speaker of the plenary was Anthony Marr (HOPE-CARE
Foundation). His first campaign was in Vancouver's Chinatown and saw all
kinds of endangered wild animal products. He was instrumental in getting
laws enacted legislation against this within four months. In other towns
where laws in place weren't being enforced, he pressured the law to bypass
"sensitivity" issues (Anthony is Chinese himself) to crack down and stop
shops from selling these products.
After some other overview he got into the Canadian seafood boycott, and
how it pertains to the seal slaughter.
Michael Mountain of Best Friends (no-kill shelters and related
campaigns) was the final speaker. Learning of Germany's no-kill law and
the mores of other countries, he aspired to do more than just rescue and
care for animals. This led to his campaigns for no-kill shelters. In
closing he relayed an anecdote of hope about how Serbs and Croats and
Israelis and Palestinians were able to, at the end of a day of bloodshed,
cooperate to care for the animals caught up in the humans' strife.
Kindness to animals can build a better world for all of us.
Return to Terminate the Canadian Seal Massacre